Scrum


Play SPaMCAST 624 Now!

Software Process and Measurement Cast 624 is structured a little differently. We begin with the conclusion of a three-column arc on grateful leadership from Susan Parente’s Not A Scrumdamentalist Column. In this installment, Susan and I discuss how servant leadership, commonly practiced by agilists, can combine with grateful leadership to be even more powerful. 

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Fitting The Pieces Together

Getting the work you commit to getting done in an iteration or sprint is not constrained to a conversation about Scrum or Scrumban. Timeboxing is common in almost all work to some extent. For example, the act of a person or a team saying what they will do to meet a need and when it will be done establishes a timebox and an expectation of performance. This expectation of performance is at the very heart of every technique, method, framework, and methodology. This expectation is often violated. Teams that chronically do not complete work they committed to in a sprint the third usual suspects is work hitting roadblocks before being shippable.

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Not Done!

One of the topics suggested by the audience was addressing the problem of stories not completing during a sprint during a panel discussion in which I participated. The majority of the audience were using Scrum or Scrumban approaches to developing and maintaining software. Attendees provided several situations to add context to their topic request. Boiling down the stories they provided yields three usual suspects that are the bane of teams everywhere.

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Poking at any entrenched framework always elicits a response; almost all of the responses are well thought out and reasonable.  In the past five essays, we have explored two major questions:  (more…)

Meeting time in Scrum, by the book, is fairly linear.  A one week sprint and four-week sprint have roughly the same percentage of time spent in ceremonies/meetings. Nearly every Scrum Master I communicated with on this topic – a mixture of people with and without technical backgrounds – has techniques to minimize the frustrations that teams voice about meeting times. This is a topic you will not be able to avoid; explaining to frustrated coders and testers the value of any specific meeting more than once will only irritate them more. Explaining that it really does not matter because more is getting done rarely changes minds in mass. Finally, making the ceremonies more fun (for example, providing food or sweets) only works for a while and then becomes an expectation (I am very fond of donuts or pizza). There are several good ways to address the perception of too much meeting time.  (more…)

Is a baby just a scaled down adult?

One of the most common complaints about using Scrum is the amount of meeting time.  In How Much Meeting Time, we used the meeting length recommendations from the Scrum Guide for a one month sprint to calculate the meeting burden rate. The number was 22.5%, assuming everyone is involved in each meeting and the meetings toe the line in terms of the guidance provided. One of the common recommendations to mute the meeting overhead problem is to use shorter sprints or iterations.  (more…)

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For SPaMCAST 587 we are going to break cadence and feature another interview. Ryan Ripley, Todd Miller and I discussed their new book Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems. We discussed how to define broken scrum processes. Ryan and Todd make the point that Scrum is so much more than a checklist of practices to follow, yet that’s exactly how many organizations practice it. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 573 features our essay using a workflow to prioritize a backlog. Items on any backlog proliferate. Product backlogs used in agile and lean development approaches are no different.  Many outsiders have the mistaken notion that once on the list that that is the end of the story — let’s dissuade them of this idea.

 Gene Hughson brings his Form Follows Function column to the podcast.  Gene and I discussed his experience as an application architect. 

 Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

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I apologize for the delay in publication — ahhh the vagueries of travel!

SPaMCAST 570 features our essay on the components of good sprint goals. Sprint goals provide direction and energy, and they communicate with the outside world. A sprint goal should be a straightforward statement that a product owner should be able to craft quickly and then agree upon with a team. We provide a structure to keep goals simple and impactful.  

We will also have a visit from Susan Parente. In this installment of Susan’s Not a Scrumdamentalist column, we discuss value.  Value is core to many practices, the problem is that value is a very nebulous concept. Susan provides guidance. Continue the conversation with Susan at parente@s3-tec.com and visit her company at www.s3-tec.com (more…)

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This week in SPaMCAST 568 marks the return of Sandeep Koorse.  Sandeep brings deep insight into the Agile mindset, passion, and experimentation. All three are required for a healthy team. Sandeep last appeared as part of SPaMCAST 511.

Sandeep is an innovative leader with over 15 years of experience in helping companies achieve higher results through a careful evaluation of their processes and their technology. Known for determining the metrics and behaviors that promote consistent excellence then sharing those values with colleagues through influence and authority. Recognized by peers for exceptional problem-solving abilities, excellent communication skills, and a passion for the community. Reach out to Sandeep at sandeep@koorse.com (more…)

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